Entrepreneurial Skills and the Power of Interruption
I read a study a while ago about how long people take to get back to work after they’ve been interrupted. The results were quite amazing, and it really brought home the power of interruptions and the vital necessity to avoid them if you want to achieve success. In fact, organizing in a way that prevents interruptions is a pivotal entrepreneurial skill.
The study was conducted on people working in a corporate environment. On average, per the study, people are interrupted 15 times during their 8-hour workday and, each time, it takes them an average of 20 minutes to get back into the swing of things. An interruption may only take 5 minutes, but if you are on a roll, in the middle of a train of thought, it takes time to get that roll going again.
Based on those numbers, people work an average of 5 hours in their 8-hour day. So if you find yourself wondering “where did the time go” at the end of your day, there’s your answer. And there’s no way you’re going to achieve success under those conditions.
Cutting down on interruptions is pretty easy if you’re working at home or in a work environment you can control:
-Set appointments for in-person or phone meetings rather than having people drop in or call whenever, or ‘tomorrow.’
-Schedule appointments in such a way that you have long stretches in which you can get other work done.
-Exercise personal discipline so distractions don’t pull you away.
-Work in a space where you can close the door.
If you’re in a large office, or you’re not the boss, get with the powers that be and see what kind of policy changes can be made. Which takes a different set of entrepreneurial skills – but that’s another story.